I am so pleased to announce that this summer 2016, I will be attending the Deep Bay Residency through the Manitoba Arts Council in Riding Mountain National Park.
I will be creating new work that investigates the shifting ground between the sacred and forgotten; the effects of defunct rail-lines in Manitoba. Composed of medium-format photography, video, audio and text, this project strives to create an alternate archive of stories and images that are not in the history books, rather those that live in the memory of the people, communities and land effected by the railway.
Realized through photographs, text and postcard installations, this work calls attention to the memory site. The memory site concept comes from a text that inspired this new work, Pierre Nora’s volume “Le Lieux de Memoire”. In this volume, he speaks about memory as being site-specific; it is based from the land, the land gives birth to identity and in-turn national culture is formed. Nora describes the memory site as a non-material entity that ties a nation and its people together. Although his monumental text is based in France, I felt myself drawing similar parallels to Canada. From this notion, I have been exploring further the idea of how culture is rooted in the soil; how every citizen is tied to the ground they live on: whether it be through growing food, cultural traditions, everyday rituals, leisure activities or weather. The memory-site for this work offers a term and platform that binds the experience of navigating the land (on-foot reconnaissance and interaction with the defunct rail lines/ monuments) and the recorded personal narrative.
Negotiating Spaces is an evolving art installation that works to continue an intergenerational dialogue about Canadian perception of space and the effect of the railway on Canadian memory and identity. This project uses contemporary Canadian train culture as a lens through which we can re-contextualize our daily movement, memories and re-write our shared histories. One of the main goals in this new work will be to continue the conversation around three specific questions that I carry with me “who was here on this land before me? Who and what is a part of the picture or left out of that frame, and how does this affect Canadian Identity today? I think about these questions everyday and they push me to engage with the hard conversations that need to happen to bring history and memory together today.